Category Archives: Slice of Life

Jukebox Memories

Music is a powerful thing. It can evoke emotions, convey moods, bring people together, and can trigger memories. Sunday I was listening to a 90s country radio station and a song I hadn’t heard in ages began to play. We tend to think of snapshots or of people when you hear certain songs. Today’s slice is going to do exactly that.

Why Should I Worry-Billy Joel

I can see myself at my grandparents in their living room singing along to this. It was on the Disney Sing-Along-Songs tape. Fun with Music to be exact. I would always watch this one or the Peter Pan one and put on a concert for them.

A Dios Le Pido-Juanes

When I was in high school the first two years my Spanish teacher loved the artist Justo Lamas. He was a Latin singer who would travel around to local high schools performing concerts and providing a positive message of some kind. But then junior year she started Spanish III off by playing a song by Juanes. For the rest of the year when we were practicing conjugating verbs or acting out a scene she would use his music. I can still remember using the dictionary to translate his song La Camisa Negra.

Aquarius-Hair

I have 2 distinct memories. The first being senior year of high school.  This was the last song in our field show that halfway transitioned into Let the Sunshine In. Senior year had a very psychedelic feel to it because we played Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit too. The second memory is my freshman fall semester at Marshall University their theater department had chosen the production Hair to kick off the season. I think I went to the show a total of 4 times. Twice was during my UNI 101 class during a dress rehearsal, another time with a friend from that class, and the final time with my entire floor because our RA bought us tickets.

Humble and Kind-Tim McGraw

It had been an unexpected shopping trip with my best friend. We were driving back from the outlets when this song came on. I was listening to it already loving the lyrics because of the simplicity of it and then the lyrics visit grandpa every chance that you can/it won’t be a waste of time/always stay humble and kind came along. I had only lost Pap B two months ago and so I felt the tears prickling behind my eyes. I gripped the arm rest harder and clamped my eyes shut hard. The next thing I felt was her hand slipping into mine and one soft squeeze. Squeezing back I realized two things: I have a kind and wonderful best friend and second-she was going to be an incredible mom.

Teenage Dream-Darren Criss’s acoustic version

Heartbreak. In the beginning this song brought the emotion of joy and love. But eventually it brought heartbreak and hard sobbing because of how much an ex blindsided me. For the longest time I couldn’t listen to this song without feeling a clinch around my heart. But then one day I turned it on and I was okay. And it was because the book had been closed.

Friendship’s Theme-Ernest & Celestine Soundtrack

This lovely track makes me think of 3rd graders of my first long term sub job at Central. Our Silent Reading playlist started with this song and everyday as soon as they heard the opening few notes they knew it was time to get lost in the magic that is reading. That class holds a very special place in my heart and they always will.

Forever and Ever, Amen-Randy Travis

Mam & Pap B. Closing my eyes I can smell their house and see them sitting in the living room. I can hear Pap telling Mam she needs a hearing aid and her becoming all stubborn and flat out refusing. I can see them sitting on the swing on their back porch just enjoying each other’s company and listening to the butterfly wind chimes that Mam bought at Dollywood. Oh how I miss them….

Can’t Help Falling in Love-Haley Reinhart

One April day last year I was sent the YouTube link to this particular song.  The message read when I hear this I think of you. I should’ve figured out then that he loved me but I just loved the song for its sound and how it made me feel safe and secure. It took another two days when he finally told me he loved me. Since then this has become one of two songs that we associate with one another.

Darling so it goes some things are meant to be

Take my hand, take my whole life too

Indeed he has.

❝My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.❞-Sir Edward Elgar

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Untamed Land & Adventure

What if you woke up one morning and you found yourself in a cabin in Virginia. You look down and the clothing isn’t of this time. And most importantly you are not in the year 2018. Instead you’re in the year 1774 and the adventure you’re about to embark on is full of danger at every turn and hidden along the Ohio River.

From Thursday evening to Sunday evening I was on that kind of adventure. A few months ago it was suggested to me that I read this book:

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At first when I was told the time period of the novel I wasn’t interested. The Colonial era has always bored me ever since 5th grade and my boyfriend knew that but he kept insisting I would love this book. I kept declining his suggestion telling him there’s no way I would like even a page of it. However here lately my curiosity was growing about this book and so I downloaded a sample. It was just the first 50 or so pages but after 14 I was hooked.  I devoured this book & quickly understood why it was his all-time favorite book. Now it’s not a thin book by any means. It’s a total of 626 page but 100-something of those are full of annotations and a list of Native American vocabulary. It’s set mainly in the Northwest Territories.  Historically it focuses on the settlers moving further into that particular territory and the tribes of that area-namely the Shawnee.

Ever since I finished that novel I decided to stay with the theme of Westward Expansion and because we’ve had two snow days my next pick is Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve only read 50 pages but it’s already hooked me in. I was already told numerous times by B that the time of frontier days was harsh and not for the faint of heart. I thought I knew how hard it was but after reading The Frontiersmen and even this book I didn’t fully understand just how strong you had to be not only physically but mentally and emotionally. I had read The Little House on the Prairie books when I was in 3rd grade but now that I read them at age 29 I realize that they were written like an episode of Growing Pains or Full House where everything works out in the end and is all tied up nicely with a big bow. As I was reading his favorite book there were points I stopped and thought how I would’ve handled the situation being presented to Simon Kenton and realized some of them I could handle but others I’m not that quick thinking.  I wonder if any of us could in this day and age. However this novel has given me an idea to do with students once we get to Westward Expansion in Social Studies. My question to you is do you think you could handle being a settler during the time of the frontiersman?

 

Step One

Cheering.

Whistling.

Pain.

‘Just another mile…’

‘Don’t give up…’

These were the sounds, thoughts and feelings I felt as I was trying to finish that last big hill when I completed the Wheeling Ogden Half Marathon back in May of 2016. Last year I wanted to do it again but in March I caught a bad case of bronchitis and it caused me to miss a lot of training and I knew in May I wasn’t ready for it. From there my mental mindset to get myself to the gym fell to the wayside too. I’ve gained another five pounds since this summer and while that may not seem like a lot I know if I don’t change my mindset now it’s going to continue. Starting today I’ve already drank more water and made myself a healthier lunch.  I know I can do this because I did it before. And just like in 2016 I’ve signed up for a half marathon again. But not the Ogden. I wanted a new challenge and this time I’ve selected the Pittsburgh Half. It’s in the beginning of May and gives me 3 less weeks of training but I can do this.

This is where my One Little Word comes into play.

Steadfast-resolutely or dutifully firm. Unwavering. Loyal. Faithful. Devoted. Dedicated. Steady. True. Single-minded. Uncompromising.

2018 is off and running and so am I.

A Moment of Reflection

2017…ah what can I say? It’s been a year of ups and downs for most of the world. But in my little corner of the world in West Virginia it’s been full of nothing BUT ups. And I’m grateful for everything that happened to me this year. At the start of the year I had 8 Aspirations for 2017. They were:

  • Read a book a month.
  • Travel somewhere new at least 4x this year.
  • Take more pictures with people and of people.
  • Challenge myself during every workout.
  • Train 4 days a week for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
  • Be more bold.
  • Love fearlessly.
  • Spend more time with my grandmother.

We are in the final few days of 2017 and I accomplished 4/8. 50% isn’t bad but as a teacher I would tell my students there’s a lot of room for improvement.

2017 I did take more pictures with people and of people. I was bold. Never in a million years did I ever think I would do a boudoir photo session. BUT I DID! I spent more time with my grandmother because if there’s one thing I took away from this year is Death is unexpected and if you blink you’re loved can be taken away. I was fortunate enough to not lose anyone in my family but several of my friends had to suffer this heartache so close to holidays it seemed. I loved fearlessly and for once I didn’t get hurt. Actually I’m still loving fearlessly and I plan to continue to do so going into 2018.

2017 brought the fun of Adult Prom with friends and adventures with friends (new and old). However, the biggest and brightest part of my 2017 was being hired at my old elementary school for a 4th grade position. I love this job and all 22 of my kids. In my next post I’ll reflect more on this. But these kids have taught me so much in the course of four months.

I’m very curious to see what 2018 has in store for me. But it’s going to be adventure and I’m ready for it. 2018 let’s do this!

 

Seven Years

Yesterday something big happened. Something that I’ve waited patiently (and here lately impatiently) since the day I ended my student teaching back in 2010. I had an interview at 10:20 AM for a 4th grade and Kindergarten position at my childhood elementary school. At the end of the interview I was told that the only way I’d receive a call if I was the successful applicant. I knew that. I’ve been told that several times in the last seven years. At 12:46 PM my phone rang. Let me repeat that….IT RANG!

I’m now the newest staff member at my childhood elementary school for 4th grade! I tried so hard to remain professional but my new principal mistook my silence for not wanting the position. I told her that wasn’t the case at all.

I went in today to see my room & that was an adventure in itself.  The main entrance was closed because the hallway was being waxed. The rest of the doors were locked & I didn’t have my key yet. Ten minutes later my former 8th grade Lit teacher pulled in and he let me in. After meeting with the principal again and getting my account set up so I can order stuff I was taken to my room. I had forgotten how big the classrooms were!

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I was able to move a bookcase, a couple tables, one computer desk since it was on the carpeted area & two book cubbies on wheels. I have two very tall and heavy cabinets that need moved and my desk. When I go up tomorrow I’ll grab two of the college boys that are helping out to move said items. After that I can really begin setting everything up.

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I love the view I have from my windows & it’s going to look gorgeous in the fall.

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Excited doesn’t even begin to cover the feelings I’m feeling right now! I’ll post again once I have more of my room set up. A part of me still can’t believe it’s finally happened. But I give credit to my long term sub job last fall when I had a 4th grade class from September to January. It gave me the confidence to answer all of their questions about centers, keeping a positive classroom environment, and what amount of experience I could bring to a grade level PLC meeting. Here’s to the 2017-2018 school year!

Down Country Roads

Windows rolled down. Car AC off. Partly cloudy skies with a breeze rustling through the tall grass.

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The goldfinches were fluttering about the tall grass along the side of the road constantly. And they never flew away in a straight line. They seemed to fly up in a tornado like motion.

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As I was driving along I came across these benches along the side of the road. It’s a part of someone’s property and at first I was unsure of whether or not to stop to take the picture. But on the way back through I did and once I got out of the car I took the time to read the sign.

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So I locked my car and went and sat on that bench for a bit. Closing my eyes I allowed myself to relax and re-center. The past few weeks have been stressful and while that stress is subsiding it was still nice to take the time to just pause and enjoy nature for a bit. During my time sitting there several birds flew by, a couple of butterflies flitted by, and one bee kept me company while it was tending to the pollen on the nearby flowers. The silence was only interrupted by a couple of cars driving by but that’s the joy of living in the country. The everyday sounds of the city are non-existent and you just have time to sit and be in peace. Someday I’m going to live there.

20170723_152147This was my view from the bench & even though it’s cloudy I still found it to be perfect. I’m thinking of getting up early one morning and making my way up here again for a sunrise. Possibly an autumn sunrise. I can’t wait to re-visit this spot during the autumn. But knowing me I’ll probably go back sooner because you honestly can’t beat the country.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Spring is slowly beginning to change over to summer. The temperatures are rising, it’s staying daylight longer, my summer sky is beginning to make an appearance, and the peonies are in full bloom.  Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved these flowers.  Someday when I have a house I intend on planting a whole row of these just like my grandmother used to have in her backyard.

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In other news my photographer sent me a link to let me see all of the photos from my boudoir shoot and they are BEAUTIFUL! I can’t believe the woman in these photos are me, but Jodi worked her magic and there are so many I can’t decide. But one of my favorites that I can share here is this one:

20170513_011329 I still can’t believe I did this but I’m so glad I did. I see a woman who is confident, fearless, and self accepting of all of her curves and scars. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

I promise I’m going to try to keep this up a little better. School is winding down and that means I’ll have more time to write. It’s been from lack of time not inspiration.

Sunday Adventures

Sunday was a wonderful day. Church was great and it was wonderful to be surrounded by my church family again. I think next Sunday Georgia will be attending church with her grandmother. I LOVE when she’s there because she’s this bright and energetic 2nd grader.  When I got home after lunch my little fluffball was waiting on me. She knew it was Sunday which means car ride day with me. I changed and took her out to the car.  She was so excited as we drove to the park. She loves to watch the ducks. I call them her live squeaky toys.

 

The sky was really blue that day and I could smell summer in the air. It also didn’t hurt that the temperature was 90 either. There was a breeze but that didn’t deter me from sitting on my grandmother’s back porch with a book & my Sunday relaxation playlist playing on Spotify.

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I kind of like reading while sitting in a swing. Butterflies kept fluttering by & the birds were chirping up a storm in the holly tree. I sat out there for thirty minutes then went inside to visit Mam for a little bit. As I was walking back home (barefoot because it felt like a summer night) I looked up and noticed the sky was my summer sky. I can’t wait for summer 2017 to arrive.

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Latin Grooves

The past two nights our regular Zumba instructor has been on vacation. Typically we cancel class while she’s gone, but this week we had a new instructor. She is a brand new one and she’s hoping to teach a class on Saturdays. She was a little nervous yesterday but we all welcomed her and told her to just relax. By the second song she was smiling and  had all of us excited.

Her routines were all Latin-based like a true Zumba class should be and she had a playlist. Now I love our usual instructor but she plays a song then looks for the next one & our heart rate kind of dips. I’m hoping that there is enough interest that the Saturday class will become part of the weekly schedule. Tonight she was nervous again because only three people were there when she showed up. She was truly pleased when eight people walked up the stairs and then four more. It was a nice size class and a lot of the same from the night before. She said later she was afraid we wouldn’t like her class because she wasn’t our usual instructor. At the end of class tonight she thanked all of  again and told us that we really helped build her confidence as an instructor by cheering and giving her positive feedback. We all grinned and told her, “We do this for a living.” She was a little confused and then we told her that we are all teachers and encouraging was kind of in our job description. She thanked us again and told us all of our students were really lucky to have us as their teacher because of how positive we were.

She was right and this is why we as educators always need to remember our words matter. These kids come to us five days a week and sometimes we’re the only bit of positivity they get. That’s why I always stay true to my 2 positives for each negative rule. That way my students don’t feel discouraged and their creativity isn’t stifled.